With Devotion, Hannah Kent gives us empathically drafted portraits of love in all its forms

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Abstract

Review: Devotion by Hannah Kent, Picador

I came across Hannah Kent some years ago, hearing from colleagues at another university that she was a particularly impressive student, and I should stay alert for what she might deliver. Not long after, Burial Rites (2013) – a fictional account of the last public execution in Iceland in 1830 – appeared, to popular and critical reception.

I couldn’t finish the book; having come to know the main character, Agnes Magnúsdóttir – “know”, that is, in the way readers connect to those who are only squiggles on a page – I just couldn’t watch her die.

Her next book, The Good People (2016), again dealt with an historical legal case, this one set in Ireland in 1825. As in her previous book, Kent’s deft portraiture and capacity for empathy meant the whole work sang; the people, the physical and built environments, even the unfamiliar systems of belief were visceral, resonant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-4
Number of pages4
Volume2021
No.October
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation Paperpress
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021

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